Archive for June 10th, 2012

June 10, 2012

A Fire Upon the Deep

Vernor Vinge

A Fire Upon the Deep is a 1992 science fiction novel by Vernor Vinge. It is a space opera involving superhuman intelligences, aliens, faster-than-light warfare, love, betrayal, genocide, and a galactic Usenet (an early Internet discussion system).

The story is set in Vinge’s ‘Zones of Thought’ in which the results of technological singularities (the achievement of greater-than-human intelligence) are spread out in a predicable pattern: In the ‘Unthinking Depths’ near the core of the galaxy, no intelligence is possible; in the ‘Slow Zone,’ where Earth is, general relativity applies (i.e. faster-than-light travel is impossible); the ‘Beyond’ allows faster-than-light travel and antigravity, and in the ‘Transcend,’ mysterious god-like entities roam the cosmos. Thus, as you head out of the Milky Way, you see the same progression of advancing technologies in other galaxies.

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June 10, 2012

Josef Albers

josef alber

Josef Albers (1888 – 1976) was a German-born American artist and educator whose work formed the basis of some of the most influential and far-reaching art education programs of the 20th century. Accomplished as a designer, photographer, typographer, printmaker, and poet, Albers is best remembered for his work as an abstract painter and theorist. He favored a very disciplined approach to composition. Most famous of all are the hundreds of paintings and prints that make up the series ‘Homage to the Square.’ In this rigorous series, begun in 1949, Albers explored chromatic interactions with nested squares.

Painting usually on Masonite (an engineered wood product), he used a palette knife with oil colors and often recorded colors used on the back of his works. Albers’s work represents a transition between traditional European art and the new American art. It incorporated European influences from the constructivists and the Bauhaus movement, and its intensity and smallness of scale were typically European. But his influence fell heavily on American artists of the late 1950s and the 1960s. ‘Hard-edge’ abstract painters drew on his use of patterns and intense colors, while Op artists and conceptual artists further explored his interest in perception.

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June 10, 2012

Richard Anuszkiewicz

squares serigraph

Richard Anuszkiewicz [an-uhskey-vich] (b. 1930) is an American painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He trained at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and with German artist Josef Albers, at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture where he earned his Masters of Fine Arts. He was one of the founders and foremost exponents of Op Art, a movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s which explore optical illusions. Victor Vasarely in France and Bridget Riley in England were his primary international counterparts.

In 1964, ‘Life’ magazine called him ‘one of the new wizards of Op.’ More recently, while reflecting on a New York City gallery show of Anuszkiewicz’s from 2000, the ‘New York Times’ art critic Holland Cotter described Anuszkiewicz’s paintings by stating, ‘The drama — and that feels like the right word — is in the subtle chemistry of complementary colors, which makes the geometry glow as if light were leaking out from behind it.’